Dr. Mapara is Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center and the Director of the Blood and Marrow Transplantation (BMT) and senior investigator at the Columbia Center for Translational Immunology (CCTI). In his role as founding director of the BMT program at Columbia University Herbert Irving Medical Center/New York Presbyterian Hospital, Dr. Mapara oversaw and led the efforts to establish a BMT program which included construction of the BMT unit, recruitment of staff and BMT faculty members.
Dr. Mapara graduated from the University of Heidelberg Medical School/Germany, and received his post-graduate training in Internal Medicine and Hematology/Oncology at the Universities of Heidelberg and the University Medical Center Charite of the Humboldt University of Berlin in Germany. In addition, he completed a research fellowship at the Transplantation Biology Research Center of the Massachusetts General Hospital at Harvard Medical School in Boston. As Assistant Professor of Medicine, he headed the Hematologic Intensive Care Unit and served as deputy director of the Stem Cell Transplantation Unit at the University Medical Center Charité in Berlin, Germany. Before coming to Columbia, Dr. Mapara was Associate Professor of Medicine (with tenure) at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and served as the Director of the Adult Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation Program. His research has been focused on translational aspects of bone marrow transplantation. In particular, he is interested in the immunobiology of allogeneic blood or marrow transplantation with a strong focus on elucidating the molecular events governing the development of Graft versus Host Disease (GVHD) in order to identify novel approaches for its prevention and treatment. Dr. Mapara’s laboratory utilizes murine and humanized mouse models to study the development of GVHD and test novel strategies for intervention. Key accomplishments include identifying the JAK/STAT1 pathway as potential target for the prevention of GVHD, dissecting the mechanisms of donor-lymphocyte infusion-mediated Graft-versus-Leukemia (GVL) effects and of GVL failure, dissecting chemotactic response during GVHD. Dr. Mapara has >70 publications in peer-reviewed journals including Journal of Clinical Investigations, Blood, Nature Medicine or Journal of Experimental Medicine.
Christopher Dvorak, MD is an Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and the Chief of the Division of Pediatric Allergy, Immunology, & Blood and Marrow Transplantation at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Benioff Children’s Hospital. He joined UCSF in 2007, where he serves as the Co-Director of the FACT-Accredited Pediatric Cellular Therapy Laboratory and is a Member of the Pediatric Malignancies Program in the Helen Diller Family Cancer Center. Nationally, he is the immediate past Chair of the Supportive Care Strategy Group of the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Consortium (PBMTC, from 2009-2016), and is Chair of the Cancer Control and Supportive Care Committee of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG, since 2017). He has served as the Principal Investigator for several large multi-center clinical trials run by the COG, PBMTC, and the Primary Immune Deficiency Treatment Consortium. His expertise is in designing and running clinical trials aimed at decreasing transplant- related morbidity and mortality, as well as optimizing approaches to transplant for very young children.
Dr. Duran-Struuck is Assistant Professor of Pathobiology and Associate Director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Laboratory Animal Resources. He is an assistant Professor (adjunct) at the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in Boston (MA). Previous to this post he was the Head of the Pre-Clinical Transplantation Laboratories at Columbia Center of Translational Immunology (CCTI) and Assistant Professor in Surgical Sciences in the Dept. of Surgery at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). Dr. Duran-Struuck was instructor in surgery at Harvard Medical School and Assistant in Immunology at the Transplantation Biology Research Center (TBRC) (Massachusetts General Hospital) where he completed his NIH K award. Dr. Duran-Struuck began his career at Tufts University by earning his Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry and completed his DVM at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine. From Tufts, he went on to complete an Internship in Internal Medicine and Surgery at Florida Veterinary Specialists and Cancer Treatment Center. Dr. Duran-Struuck then transitioned to the University of Michigan where he finished a Residency in Laboratory Animal Medicine while concurrently fulfilling a post-doctoral fellowship in experimental bone marrow transplant in the laboratories of Drs. James L.M. Ferrara and Pavan Reddy at the University’s Comprehensive Cancer Center working on graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). In 2010, Dr. Duran-Struuck fulfilled his second post-doctoral fellowship in bone marrow transplant at Harvard Medical School under the guidance of Dr. David Sachs and Christene Huang within the large animal bone marrow transplantation group at the TBRC prior to his first faculty appointment. He also completed and successfully defended his PhD in Immunology, at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (suma cum laude). He is a boarded Diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM).
Dr. Duran-Struuck has over thirty publications and expertise is transplantation immunology using small (mouse) and large (pig and monkey) animal models. He has used protocols for the induction of tolerance for solid organ transplantation, hematopoietic cell transplantation, and treatment strategies for graft-versus-host disease and other auto-immune mediated conditions. Recently, Dr. Duran-Struuck has studied the use of regulatory T cells as an “off the shelf product” for the induction of immunological tolerance and the treatment of GVHD. As a comparative medicine veterinarian has also expertise in facility design, regulatory compliance and veterinary care of (immunodeficient and immunocompetent) animals required for successful implementation of pre-clinical studies.
Dr. Daly completed medical school and internal medicine training at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. He undertook his hematology training at that same institution and then completed a two-year fellowship in Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation at the University of Toronto. His research interests include improved prophylaxis and treatment of graft-versus-host disease and the use of alternative donors to expand access to HCT to patients without matched donors. He is currently President of the Canadian Blood and Marrow Transplant Group and Medical Director of the Alberta Blood and Marrow Transplant Program in Calgary, Alberta. He is a clinical associate professor in the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary.
Dr. McDevitt is a Senior Investigator at the Gladstone Institutes and a Professor in the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco. Previously, Dr. McDevitt was a Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University and was the founding Director of the Stem Cell Engineering Center at Georgia Tech. He spent 10 years at Georgia Tech (2004-14) before moving to the Gladstone Institutes after receiving a California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) Research Leadership Award. Dr. McDevitt has 20 years of experience in biomaterials and tissue engineering research and, for the past 15 years, has focused primarily on stem cell and tissue engineering. The McDevitt laboratory has been a leader in the development of scalable culture platforms for stem cell biomanufacturing. In addition to stem cell tissue engineering efforts, the McDevitt laboratory has also innovated several approaches to develop stem cell-derived molecular therapies for immunomodulation, tissue repair and regeneration, and anti-aging applications. Dr. McDevitt has received several honors and awards, including a New Investigator Award from the American Heart Association (2004), the Society for Biomaterials Young Investigator Award (2010), recognized as one of the “40 Under 40” by Georgia Trend magazine (2013), and was inducted in the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows (2014). Dr. McDevitt graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering (B.S.E.) from Duke University double majoring in Biomedical and Electrical Engineering, received his Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of Washington, and conducted post-doctoral research in the Department of Pathology at the University of Washington.
Scientific Co-Founder, Board Member
Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic is the University Professor (Columbia University highest rank), and The Mikati Foundation Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Medicine. She is a leading expert in engineering of human tissues for regenerative medicine, stem cell research (including mesenchymal stem cells), and study of human disease. With over 35,000 citations and h=108, she is one of the most highly cited individuals of all times in all disciplines. She has previously founded three other biotech companies (EpiBone, TARA Biosystems, East River BioSolutions).
Among her recognitions, she is a Fellow of AAAS, a member of the Academia Europaea, National Academy of Engineering, National Academy Medicine, and National Academy of Inventors.